Sunday, September 13, 2009

Baking the Bake-Off: Project 2 Kiss Me Cake

For the next installment in my Baking the Bake-Off project, I tackled the second winner, from way back in 1950, which was an orange coffeecake called "Orange Kiss Me Cake." This recipe sounded very promising, as I usually love coffeecakes (any excuse to dunk something into coffee...). When comparing my old thrift shop find Pillsbury Bake-Off cookbook and the online version of the recipe, I was very happy to see that this time, there had not been any changes to the ingredients (barring the suggestion to use butter or margarine instead of shortening). Pillsbury's site has assumed today's home cook will use both a food processor and an electric mixer, so they updated the instructions somewhat, which I did find both appropriate and helpful. The main change being that in the original version, you were instructed to hand grind a whole orange, nuts, and raisins together. Thank you Cuisinart for the 2 minutes this step took! I can't imagine having to hand grind those ingredients.

One part of the recipe that stuck out at me was the use of an entire orange. Many citrus based based recipes do call for using the zest and juice of a fruit, but in this recipe, after juicing the orange, the instructions in both versions say to grind up the entire remaining rind and pulp. I hesitated here. Haven't I always been instructed to be careful when zesting? To not dig too deeply down into the bitter white pith hiding beneath the luscious orange colored part of the peel? This recipe seemed to call for the entire thing, pith and all, the only suggestion was to remove the seeds. I decided I wanted to be true to the original recipe, and despite my strong inclination to just scrape off the zest and dig out the flesh, I did as instructed and dropped the whole thing into the bowl of my food processor, added the nuts and raisins, and hit the switch. The smell was wonderful, a strong earthy orangey aroma.

The rest of the cake was pretty straighforward - all of the batter ingredients get mixed together and poured into a large 9x13" pan, baked, then the warm cake is drizzled with the orange juice and liberally coated with cinnamon sugar and nuts. Then there was agonizing hour long wait for the cake to cool and for the juice to setttle into the cake. I plucked off a nut in anticipation. I brewed coffee. Tick Tick Tick.

Finally the hour was up and I could taste the cake. My daughter surprisingly loved it, which I had not expected since she had wrinkled her nose at the Chocolate Orange Drizzle Cake I had made a few months ago. I liked it, could see why it won.. it was a brilliantly economical recipe, and very very moist. Personally, this cake was a bit too orangey flavored for me, in the way orange soda is too orangey and sweet. I could have done with less potent orange and more cinnamon and nut. Or perhaps use grapefruit or lemon .. or maybe even key lime instead, with macadamia nuts.


  1. You're so brave--I would have been worried about putting the whole orange in the processor because of the bitterness. It looks great and I love the idea of trying the lemon too.

  2. It was pretty scary, but I knew that recipe had won such a big contest, and had been made many times by others throughout the years. It wasn't bitter after all,just a bit tangy, and I think the pith probably helped tame some of the sweetness.

  3. this is a great cake. i remember it from the sixties when a friend made it because her husband had to watch his clorestal.
    what is sooo good and easy.
    the bakeoffs used real ingredients then. not just combinations of products.
    although the million dollar chicken that wond a recent bake off (morocan chicken i think) is one of the best chicken recipes i have ever made. guests rave and ask of the recipe. just google million dollar chicken recipe.